Comida Porteño: Bebidas (Drinks) and a Pinguino in Action

pisco drinksPeter, displaying a Pisco Sour (L) and Porteño (R)

The Comida Porteño opened with two pisco cocktails, prepared with expert precision by Nalin.  Pisco is a grape brandy produced in Peru and Chile, and popular throughout South America.  The classic pisco is the Pisco Sour, a light drink made frothy with egg white.  Nalin’s other offering was the herbaceous Porteño, created by *** in Portland.  This drink features the Italian bitter, Fernet-Branca.  According to Wikipedia, this was originally developed in Milan in 1845 by the Italian Maria Scala as a stomach medicine.


Pisco Sour

2 oz. pisco
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
2 oz pasteurized egg whites

Shake vigorously with ice, pour into martini glass

2 dashes Angostura bitters over the foam


(Adapted from a recipe by Murray Stenson of Zig Zag Cafe in Seattle.)


3/4 ounce bourbon

1/2 ounce Fernet Branca

1/2 ounce cherry brandy (I used Cointreau)

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

1/2 ounce Falernum or simple syrup

After a compare-and-contrast session discussing the relative merits of the two pisco cocktails, we sat down to share a bowl of Yerba Mate.  This merits a post of its own, so you’ll need to return next week for that story.

Finally, we sat down to our expertly prepared multi-course Porteño meal.  Sommelier Dave did an excellent and creative job with the wine pairings (see his notes, below).  We also enjoyed a chance to drink wine poured from pinguinos, as demonstrated in the video clip here.  The pinguinos are both cute and sinister, with the red wine looking a little like blood emanating from their mouths.  But mainly cute.


1) Lustau Light Fino “Jarana” Sherry-

Paired with cheese and corn humita empanadas.  In retrospect, I would have gone with a light sherry with more interest (e.g., an oloroso).

Country: Spain

Region: Jerez

Grape Variety:  Palomino

2) Valdespino Amontillado ‘Contrabandista’- paired with shortrib empanadas

Country: Spain

Region: Jerez
Sub-Region:Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Grape Variety:  Palomino  Pedro Ximenez


Domaine Charles Audoin 2006 Rose’ (Marsannay) Burgundy region


Niepoort 2011 Doci’l Vinho Verde

Paired with locro, and wanted a cross-the-board white for non-red drinkers.


Malbec from Argentina, brought back by our hosts Chris and Diana

Dessert (Alfajores and Tres Leches Cake)

1985 Graham’s port

This post is part of the second Spicebox Supperclub, the Comida Porteño con Sabor Latino, celebrating the food and drink of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Coming up next: what is yerba mate, and what do you do with it?

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